HOLYOKE, Mass. – A clutch eighth-inning rally led the Elms College baseball team to a 5-2 win over Dean in New England Collegiate Conference play on Friday evening.
The Blazers (6-17, 2-5 NECC) trailed 2-0 after the second inning, but cut that deficit in half with a run in the third. Elms, however, stranded the would-be tying run on third base in both the fifth and sixth innings, and after a quick seventh the Blazers entered the eighth trailing 2-1.
Thomas Slane drew a lead-off walk in the eighth but the momentum was quickly crushed when Kevin Banas hit into a double-play. With two outs and nobody on, Josh Berthiaum singled and Josh Pasini drew a walk. A passed ball moved Pasini and pinch-runner Josh Keaton into scoring position and Nathan Ayala pulled through with a two-run single into left field. Jaeden Rasmus followed with a double to put runners on second and third once again, and Andy Vasquez came up with another clutch hit, a two-run single that gave the Elms a 5-2 lead.
Cody Fisher shut down the Bulldogs (7-18-1, 3-6 NECC) in the eighth and ninth for the win after Matt Plasse turned in a solid seven-inning performance, allowing just two runs without a walk while racking up eight strikeouts.
Alex Belanger got the loss for Dean after giving up the four eighth-inning runs.
Berthiaum went 4-for-4 at the plate while Pasini and Ayala each picked up two hits in the game. Elms tallied 12 hits in the game and the Bulldogs finished with nine of their own.
Elms and Dean will shift to the Bulldogs' Longley Field to wrap up the three-game series with a double-header at Dean on Saturday with the first game beginning at 1:00 p.m.